Preparation for a Field Trip
You will get more enjoyment from your trip if you do some background reading ahead of departure. Take advantage of one or two of the various guide books that are available for each region to learn a bit about the country and the people that live there. Pay attention to the customs and morals of the local peoples and dress and act in a manner to blend in rather than stand out as a tourist. There may be a few spare moments here and then along the way to see points of interest not specifically associated with the plant portion of the itinerary, and a bit of background reading in advance will help you better appreciate these experiences. If there are botanical field guides available, either general floras or on specific taxa, it would be helpful to study these in advance so that you can more able to correctly identify what you are seeing in the field.
Consult with a travel medicine specialist well in advance of the trip to determine what vaccinations and medications would be appropriate for the destination. Many clinics have a travel medicine specialist as do local health departments; check with your doctor for a referral. Depending on location of the tour, you will want to be protected from diseases such as tetanus, malaria, yellow fever, hepatitis, influenza, rabies, or others.
Carry with you routine medical supplies such as over-the-counter pain medications, adhesive bandages, topical antibiotics, anti-diahrreals (including prescription antibiotics for more serious cases), and topical steroids for itches and rashes. Mosquito repellant is also recommended in many locations.
Be certain to take sufficient prescription medication to see you through the trip including extra for any delays that might occur. Also, take copies of your prescriptions with you.
Do not pack required medications in your checked baggage – take it as carry-on. Also, carry it in the vehicle with you instead of packed in your suitcase.
Passport and visa
Be certain that your passport is up to date. Most countries require an expiration date at least 6 months after your planned departure date. Make photocopies of your passport and distribute them in your various luggage and that of your traveling companion if any. Always keep a copy with you. Never leave your passport unattended, such as in your room when you go to dinner; use a hotel safe or carry it with you.
Some countries require visas, others do not. Many that do, issue the visa at the time of entry (i.e., at the arrival airport). Some countries require visas be issued in advance – allow at least a couple months to assure this is done on time.
Travel insurance is highly recommended and some of our tour operators require it, either purchased on your own or purchased through them as part of the tour package cost. There are various levels of coverage available; the most important is medical coverage and medical evacuation coverage. Other coverages include reimbursement if you must cancel the tour, lost luggage, delayed flight expenses, etc. Some companies waive the limitation on coverage for “pre-existing conditions” if you purchase your insurance within a short timeframe after you make your first payment for the trip (either airline reservations or tour deposit), so it is best to study companies and plans in advance.